No Finicky Business

Rigozo

Holla!

Storytime…

So I have been chatting with this man for some time now and it’s like he’s playing hard to get.

I didn’t care that he said he doesn’t talk to strangers at the beginning. I had already introduced myself, which changed my status from stranger to acquaintance.

Since then, I’ve been greeting this man good morning and good night every single day. Can’t he see that I have swallowed my pride?

I have been waiting for him to get with the program and start to make moves, but the man is slow.

We are still in the talking stage, on God. I’m thinking that maybe I should hit him on the head with a love memo. Look, I’m not getting any younger.

Anyway, I sent him a picture today because I was looking like a babe and more, and tensioning is the name of the game.

It looked like it worked because the man texted me immediately, “WHO’S YOUR DADDY?”

Ah! Is it really happening like this? Am I dreaming?

Finally, all of my hard work has paid off.

I can never let an opportunity pass me by, so I sharply answered, “You’re my daddy.”

*I giggled like a hybrid monkey*

Hah! It was his turn to make the next move.

I was so excited, until I saw, “Hahaha! Very funny. But that’s biologically incorrect.”

Wait! What? Excuse me!

This man is not serious, abi?

What’s all this finicky business?

I was looking at my phone like I forgot the password of my Kuda bank app, because…

Is romance dead? Asking for a friend.

#Day 5 of My Journal Series

Getting People’s Attention: What It Means

Rigozo

I am taking a course on Content Marketing, and I was thinking about how attention is one of the approaches a content marketer has to employ to build their community, tribe, village, or whatever they wish to call their audience or customers. This is an age where building relationships is key to unlocking success, right?

So let’s say you finally get people’s attention, and your name is on everybody’s lips. Your phone can’t stop ringing because they all want to work with you or be associated with you. The way forward is to keep churning out content that holds their attention.

As simple as that right?

Satya Nadella said, “We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.”

Not so simple after all. Whether you like it or not, if you wish to make sales, you have to do all you can to keep your customer’s attention. That’s the entire idea behind content marketing. You must ensure that your content is constantly sating their needs, and be available for them, or else they will go somewhere else (loyalty is not up for debate).

The upside of getting people’s attention

Just because it’s tough doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. You want to get attention by ensuring that your content is relatable and solves your customer’s problems. The results have been replicated over and over again, which shows that having people’s attention is necessary to grow both a business and a personal brand. The benefits of attention are:

  • Increased organic search for your website.
  • Because your message is authentic it will be shared.
  • It helps to generate more ideas and better leads
  • You’ll be seen as an authority in your industry.

The downside of getting people’s attention

There are different ways to look at attention and it’s important to also consider the downside of it. I don’t think people talk about it enough, and this is based on my own reflections.

I haven’t had the tribe I hope to build but my work sometimes gets attention. And after the initial rush, I can’t shake the dread that it is all temporary. It’s sad that my thoughts move to the negative as soon as I’m in the presence of glowing recommendations. Sometimes all I can think of is, ‘What if a day comes when I can no longer command their attention?’ That I would have to keep working extra hard to keep putting out my best work.

I am my competition.

To be Undesirable. Unwanted. Unworthy. Nobody wants that.

Your client for sure wouldn’t want that. This is why you have to put out content that is relevant. I think that’s the most important reason why you have to do your research. And particularly, understand your audience.

It should always be about building relationships

Do your palms grow sweaty when a person earnestly appreciates your work because you are wondering if you can replicate the result? Or is there a constant weight on your chest as you move from one strategy to another trying to figure out what content to employ in your next campaign?

Even if it starts out as building an audience, it should always be about building relevant relationships. That’s the only way I can see this playing out. I have seen content creators take a bow and years after they have left the scene, people still clamor for their content because they were touching lives one way or another.

Even when people or brands make mistakes, or do something unbecoming, they will be able to get real feedback from their audience. Because there is a bond that goes beyond buying and selling. There’s an appreciation for the good work that you do. So people will be willing to give you another chance to fix things.

The takeaway

I have kept my relationship with people very civil at best and those that really matter to me, I hold close. Many opportunities have come my way because of these relationships, and I really appreciate it. I owe a lot to the people in my life for where I am now. And now as I build my career as a content marketer, I will not just focus on how to keep people’s attention, I’ll also take care to build relationships.

#Day 4 of My Journal Series

Photo Credit: Rigozo

Thursday Talk Series on Tobe’s Life and Work As a Photographer

Rigozo

I saw a Bollywood movie yesterday and as always their storyline is intriguing, and the acting was superb and hilarious. The name is A Magical Love Story, and it’s about love, family, fate, curses, deceit, and magic. We know real-life is not the same as a screenplay but we do all we can each day to find happiness. There is no substitute for trying again and again. Sometimes life is to be enjoyed and other times it picks you up, does a little spin, and sets you down. You can be sure that it will take a while before you will be able to find your balance – you will eventually find it. Let have this in mind, “Nature has given us all the pieces required to achieve exceptional wellness and health, but has left it to us to put these pieces together.”—Diane McLaren. Whether you believe that love/life is magical, it’s up to you to write your own story.

Today I’m introducing Tobe and I’ve found him to be one of those people (rare) who are completely honest with themselves. This makes him able to interpret his feelings without trying to convince himself otherwise. He pays attention to details, especially in his work, and always tries to find a balance between business and personal life – to the best of his ability. In his relationship with people, he is understanding and reliable, makes amazing connections (he always knows a guy). I can’t remember our first meeting but we’ve had several easy and open-minded conversations. That said, he’s the first to start conversations with people – he still hasn’t realized that he has an amazing gift of relating with people – even strangers. He is a goal-getter and an exceptional manager, and when it comes to having fun he gets into the mood 100%.

Trivia on Tobe

- A foodie

- Loves to dance

- An Arsenal fan

Q. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

A. My name is Tobenna Afamefuna Nnamdi Amechi. Yes, I do not have an English name and for a while, I didn’t like it. However, today I am proud of my Igbo names because each of them has specific meanings which are relevant to life and living. I am a photographer and I run a photography business in Lagos, Nigeria.

Tobenna Amechi

Q. Why do you do your job, and would you rather do something else?

I started the business because it was a skill I had and I needed to make money while waiting to get full-time employment. I wasn’t also so bombed with the idea of working for someone except for having the idea of ‘corporate work’ at the time and being responsible. Over time, the reasons for being in business have grown from money-making and now emotional and core business principles. At some point, I just wanted to make money, other times I just wanted to be happy. There was a period it was powered by how people felt when they got served by my business. Now all of those things have faded, and I am more interested in building a business that solves clients’ problems while meeting the needs of the individuals offering the service. There are days in the cause of running this business that I felt I would rather be doing an actual 9-5, step out every day and do actual work, and then come back. I have gone ahead to even apply for jobs on some days. In the end, I am still here going through the motions and believing. I am a corporate guy. I have an affinity for emails, suits, ties, warm regards, etc. It excites me, and I sincerely want to experience it, if I get the opportunity, either by building it into my own business or getting that actual job and maybe just doing it for 6 months. For me, the travails of being a business owner are always looming. There are busy days, lazy days, and days I question my existence and relevance to both myself and the universe. I like activity – purposeful activity – hence I feel very uncomfortable when I am not doing anything. Why do I currently do what I do? I am not sure I know anymore. I believe many entrepreneurs have gone through this phase too. However, I am at the point where I want to prove my relevance to myself. I want to be sure I am not just existing, and inconsequential to the happenings of life.

Q. What two things do you think of the most each day and why?

  • Growth – I am really scared of not measuring up to my mates, of poverty and stagnant.
  • Relevance – I want to make a mark in peoples lives I don’t want to have just existed, I want to have touched lives so when I die in the next 80 years, people can have good testimonies about me.
  • Money – to make more and never lack while giving to people in need.
  • Love – I feel alone most times, I need a girlfriend in my life.
  • Sex – How I am not having it and wish to get married quickly so I can indulge without guilt
  • Family – current and future.
  • Heaven – How I try not to do the many different things I could be doing that seem normal but will cost me eternity, I can’t go to hell Biko.

Q. What is the best thing about what you do?

A. Sincerely, the best thing about it right now is delivering to the clients’ satisfaction and the consequent balance that comes. Of course, making great images satisfy me, and this was the best thing at some point but not now making great images also means the client would be satisfied.

Q. What do you appreciate about yourself and what would you like to change?

A. I appreciate my soft nature which makes me want to do good for people all the time. I also would like to change it, to be a little more strong-willed, not caring what people will say and a lot of other things.

Q. What have you accomplished so far that has made you proud?

A. A little while ago, I was in a virtual meeting with my staff. I looked at my computer screen and saw their names registered and I realized how blessed I was to have two individuals on my team. I am proud to have been able to build Wise Visuals by God’s grace from a one-person team to where it is now. I am proud and grateful for it.

Q. What was the last book you read and what can you say about it?

A. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. There is no successful person who didn’t have opportunities handed to them, in most cases they didn’t realize they were opportunities that would make them world-famous. However, they still made the best out of the opportunities that were presented to them, putting in the time and work needed to be great at what they did, clocking their 10,000 hours of work to be excellent. In light of this, I figure that everyone is presented with a series of opportunities in their lifetime, we are tasked to view each season as an opportunity and make the best of it. Achieving expertise at something requires you to have put in much time work approximately 10,000 hours, which the successful people we know put in both voluntarily and involuntarily as a result of the opportunities they were presented with. If this is true which does make sense, then intentional practice over time helps the mastery of and success at one’s craft.

Q. What do you feel is the difference between living and existing?

A. The major difference is impact and self-satisfaction. When you live, you affect lives, small and big and you are happy and self-satisfied doing that.

Over time, the reasons for being in business have grown from money-making and now emotional and core business principles. At some point, I just wanted to make money, other times I just wanted to be happy. There was a period it was powered by how people felt when they got served by my business. Now all of those things have faded, and I am more interested in building a business that solves clients’ problems while meeting the needs of the individuals offering the service

Amechi Tobenna on Thursday Talk Series

Q. What is that thing that you see as an obstacle which can stop you from having success?

A. Inconsistency. I find that I can start things and most times I don’t know how to finish or sustain them. Knowing this is a challenge, has also posed an inhibition to start for me, because I don’t want to start and not finish.

Q. If like a movie your life up to this point is played for you to watch, describe how you’d feel about it?

A. I’d feel how I am feeling now, unsatisfied and some level of regret. Grateful for the wins and optimism and faith for a better ending.


Thank you so much Tobenna for the interview and I hope you find what gives you satisfaction. And thank you everyone for sticking around. Have a blissful Thursday.

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Currently Reading

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Steve Jobs

Currently Reading

Frank Herbert’s sixth book - Heretics of Dune
I am so proud of myself for getting to book 6

The Hype About Self Reflection and Why It Is Important

Rigozo

Disclaimer: Self reflection is a good thing and necessary to elevate our lives, it can also be challenging and requires discipline.

I know it’s hard to find out something different from the visual and mental representation that we already have of ourselves. From my experience, once you embark on self-reflection, you either feel like a million bucks or like roadkill. You know how it is with having a crush, you get to know them and eventually you get crushed because they don’t look so iconic to you anymore. Yeah, that’s how getting to know yourself better can feel, however, it’s not always the case.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates

What Is Self Reflection

Self reflection is one of the ways in which we can learn certain things about ourselves that would help us change and improve our lives. When we self reflect, we take off the blinders and this allows us to see ourselves for who we truly are. When we are honest with ourselves, we are able to process our thoughts, learn from past mistakes and successes, and it gives us a fighting chance as we tackle the future. Another thing is that we are able to acknowledge our feelings instead of hiding behind them and this is a great way to progress.

Is Self Reflection Good Or Bad?

Self reflection can go both ways like I said earlier. When done in a constructive manner it brings about positive changes but if haphazardly done and focused only the negative aspects, it could cause a person to spiral down.

The brain is a survival mechanism constantly alert to our needs. Simi Rayat mentioned that if the brain receives signal that we feel threatened or out of our comfort zone, it is possible for our mind to deploy hacks and shortcuts to manage such situations. This will cause the brain to tell us lies that can mess with our decisions, thinking and interpretations.

Note: It is also important to try to understand where other people’s opinion of you are coming from in other to shield against the ones that have no benefits to you.

Why Self Reflect?

#For Growth and Understanding

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is the noblest; second by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

Nobody that I know of has cracked the code 100% on how to elevate the way they see themselves, but a lot of positive changes can come through self reflection. This can go a long way to help you get clarity and find your purpose. It also inspires growth and a better understanding of who you are as a person. Always remember it is important that you don’t lose sight of who you are.

#Gets Rid of Insecurities

“Don’t become too preoccupied with what is happening around you, pay more attention to what is going on within you.”

Mary-Francis Winters

Perhaps you are in a low place and struggling with general anxiety, one of the best thing you can do for yourself is to self reflect. To fix a problem, it is important that you have to first know where it’s coming from and tackle it at the source unless it will persist.

#Improves Your Relationships

“Before I ask you to sit with me,

I must be able to sit with myself,

Before I ask you to accept my pain,

I have to accept the pain myself,

Before I ask you to love me,

I have to be madly in love with myself.”

C.Thoth

Many times we are the problem in our relationships and we are not aware of it, because how we see ourselves can be skewed and misinterpreted. We are only able to take the necessary steps towards self improvement when we become aware of our faults and flaws. Self reflection leads to self awareness, which leads to better relationships with our families, friends and colleagues.

#Promotes Self Acceptance

“Time spent in self reflection is never wasted, it is an intimate date with yourself.”

Paul TP Wong

When we are able to process our emotions and thoughts, we feel a greater connection to ourselves. It opens up our mind to several possibilities to explore those ideas that we have and channel them in a positive way. For example there are times I would repeat to myself, “I’m beautiful; I’m important; I’m not pathetic,” and so on. This happens a lot when I have intrusive thoughts that target my self confidence – pretty nasty stuff – and the only way for me is to channel positive energy to tackle them. I’m aware it makes all the difference to my physical and my mental health.

Start Reflecting

Ask yourself questions, especially the hard ones – you know those ones that makes you cringe or causes your chest to tighten . Be sure to reflect on your experiences; introspection is important and can help you track the things that you did, felt and thought at certain moments. You are going through your memories like a movie reel without editing parts of it. Don’t forget to take it easy on yourself, things that are not going right can be fixed with discipline and TLC (Tender, Love and Care).

I’m off to go do some self reflection (mehn things are about to get bloody up in here), wish me all the best.

Photo Credit: Rigozo

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On The Art of Living

Rigozo

I’m very particular about living (well) and I have been aware of it for a very long time and would like to say a few things. There’s no denying that ‘life is wonderful’, I believe it is why most people at their last moments, would have given anything to keep their hearts beating. I think it ironic that we that are alive spend most of the time bemoaning our existence.

Granted life gives us doses of wins and losses, and there’s so much going on around the world that could test even the patience of a saint.

I like how Stephen King puts it matter of fact, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Well, those are the options and that’s all there is to it.

Time is precious
No time like the present

We Are Alive

Everybody that is alive do five things in common; breathe, eat, sleep, piss, and sh*t. Even babies get with the program as soon as they arrive on the third planet from the sun (I don’t know anybody who doesn’t, and if you do, please feel free to mention the person). Many would argue that we are one and the same, while others will stand on our individuality and uniqueness; potato – potato.

Whatever the case may be, you inhabit this earth and there’s only one permanent way out (into the unknown). But while you are here, you play your part in the grand scheme of things (this here is shrouded in mystery) no matter how miserably or awesomely you are getting along.

When you are fed up of adulting.

How many times do we tell ourselves that we can handle this? It’s the way we deal with things that upset us. It’s the reason why whoever you are, wherever you find yourself or whatever you do; you spent your formative years immersed in learning the acceptable way to live. Moreover, you are besieged with family, friends, school, work, government and many more. You just have to learn to deal with it because as you grow older, it is expected of you to take the reins of your life and make decisions on how you want to live it .

Side Bar:

There’re all forms of pleasure available and only a few compete with the joy of eating good food. When cake melts in your mouth, you experience paradise and all lovers of plantain can testify that nothing can compare. Eat good food because your health is important, enjoy it because you have to be a sadist not to. That’s one way to liven up your living.

Living usually takes different turns at different stages of your life and you are confronted with fresh-faced issues. Mostly there are periods of triumph and periods that are tumultuous. And it continues in this manner until you breathe your last. No matter how much we try, there are days when we cannot deny that we are not okay. Good news is it’s normal.

To talk about how hard living can be. I'm not Okay.

Making The Most Of Living

Love yourself; You Matter: Put your hands up if you know that you’re a spec and need no validation from other people (both of my hands are in the air). I think it goes beyond knowing it, and it depends more on living your life and taking actions that shows how much you value yourself. I say this because when people say they are living their best life, I assume that there can be such a thing as living your worst life. So get into your Zen, be aware of who you are and cash out on appreciating yourself.

Stay Away From People

Build a strong barrier around yourself to keep the wrong people out. The reason why is so that you do not lose your sanity. Yes, stay away or your mental/physical/spiritual health can be threatened. If you realize that the wrong people still inhabit your space, it could be because your barrier is made from bubble wrap, and well you get the idea…you are like a kid’s favorite play toy. They’ll definitely chew you up and spit you out as a complete mess. Keep the right people around you…you’ve heard this before, maybe it’s time to find them and keep them. The wrong people who don’t do anything for you, send packing.

Use Available Resources

This is what I see a lot of us struggle with because human needs are insatiable and there’s always something more. It takes a lot of self discipline to work with available resources and to get things done. Khalil Gibran writes, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Reframing you’re mindset plays a huge part in fixing your life, or you’ll truly live in sobriety. Not everything is within your reach but take advantage of what is and that would be your stepping stone.

…when people say they are living their best life, I assume that there can be such a thing as living your worst life.

Stop Procrastinating

There are several times when I fail to get things done because I procrastinate. I got this drilled into my head. When I say “I’ll try to do this,” I get the response, “Don’t try, just do it.” Do it? A lot of times the only thing I want to do is nothing. In real life though, you can’t always wait for life to happen, it is advisable to go out and grab what you want by the balls. No offense meant. Charles Linbergh proposes that while living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests. In other words, live your life now.

Just Do It!❤️

Love You Everyday

Rigozo

I want you to let me love you
The reason is of little importance
I want to hold your hands
All you need to do is to never let go
Words are often misconstrued
And malice breeds like sewer rats
Tracking filth on the sheets
Therefore I'll let my actions do the talking
Give you smiles to drive away your fears
Hugs to reassure you that everything will be alright
And if you still want the words, I'll give them all to you
They will sink like serums into your pores
The cadence of my voice as potent as a siren's song
All I ask is that you let me love you everyday

Thank you for reading. Let us not forget to choose love everyday.

Working on a new feature for my blog called Snail Story. It would be flash fiction stories of less than 200 words. Will you be interested to read it? Please leave your comments, I’d love to know what you think.

I’m currently reading this book and I’ve found out that it has hidden gems. 😍

Aisha’s Luck

Rigozo

When her phone rang and she saw the caller, she smiled gently, careful not to stretch the skin on her face or else the scab by the corners of her mouth would open. 

“Mariam! It’s been a long time.” Aisha said softly. 

“Ya! It is true. You don’t remember that we are friends these days, but I forgive you. How are you doing?” 

“Fine, my friend. I thank God for life.” She looked at herself in the mirror, her left eye black and partly shut. 

“Ah Aisha! You are highly favored by God. I still can’t believe that your husband got you the latest Benz not long after you got back from your holiday in Qatar. I envy you my friend. If I have even a quarter of your luck, my life will not be so miserable.” Mariam gushed. 

“Yes! He is very generous. I don’t know what I did to deserve him.” Tears tracked down the eye that was left open. The saltiness stung her broken lips. She welcomed the pain, even as pink tongue darted out to taste her tears.

“See you praising your husband, haba! This must be the love that people are always talking about. Ehn ehn! No wonder you haven’t come to see me in weeks now.” 

Aisha’s chest tightened painfully, the hum of the humidifier the only sound in the room. She opened her mouth as if to say something but closed it, eyes darting to the door as if expecting it to burst open any minute.

Mariam was still talking, “I pray to God everyday to find a man like your husband. My friend, you don’t know that you are the talk of all the women in town.”

“My friend Mariam, thank you for calling, but I have to go now.” Aisha backed up to one corner of her room, her chest heaving.

“Ahn ahn! So soon? Let me come and visit you one of these days. We still have a lot of gist to cover. I’m sure you have not heard that Fatima ran away from home. Can you imagine? Isn’t she lucky that Alhaji Tanko wants her for a fourth wife? I swear, some people don’t know a good thing even when it’s standing before their eyes. He’s wealthy and I heard he bought separate houses for his wives on the island. If I was her ehn, I’d be dancing…”

Aisha disconnected the call and slid to the floor, her bandaged torso protesting. It was her fault for thinking her husband would take things lightly. She saw the box he left for her this morning unopened on her bed, the paper sparkling in the sunlight. Whatever was inside would definitely be costly. Quadri would keep buying her gifts and apologizing. A broken wrist had gotten her a week in Qatar. He had muttered promises to take her to Dubai as soon as she got better. It was like Mariam said, she was lucky.

****

How Mohammad became the security guard/gateman for the Daudas was still a mystery. He could easily lift up a grown man and toss him like a rag, but he really was softhearted. 

A car horn had him rushing to check the gate. It was Oga Bello, his master’s closest friend. He let him into the house and threw a salute as Bello stepped out of his car. 

“Oga Bello, Welcome! Gaskia you are looking very handsome today.”

Bello laughed heartily, reached into his pocket, brought out a wad of money, and handed it over to Mohammad. 

“Get something nice for yourself and send the rest home to your wives and children,” Bello said. 

He walked towards the house with Mohammad singing his praise. The maid let him in. After informing him that it was only Madam Aisha in the house, she led him to a private sitting area. 

“Haba Bello! You didn’t call to let us know you were coming.” 

Bello trembled slightly. He knew it was wrong to lust after his friend’s wife, but Aisha was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he wanted her badly. He stood up as she walked in.

“I have something important to discuss with Quadri. His number is not going, and I was around the area so I dropped by hoping to meet him here.” Bello found himself tracking Aisha’s every graceful movement, sometimes it seemed as if her feet hardly touched the ground. 

“Please sit. My husband had to go for a meeting very early this morning. Perhaps you can leave a message for him.” 

He would have missed it if he hadn’t studied her face like the palm of his hand, and if he wasn’t looking at her so intently.

“What happened to your face?” He asked, drawn to her without even thinking. She was wearing make up but the bruise was still noticeable.

Aisha eyes grew wide and she retreated from him. “I caught my foot on the carpet and fell down. My fault for being such a klutz.”

Bello felt cold and hot all at once. He knew that Aisha was no klutz. Watching her move away like a little rabbit left him with a heady sensation. He found himself breathing deeply until her smell fogged his brain.

“Haba! This ends here. How long will you husband continue to act so despicable? I swear Aisha, I will kill Quadri for laying his filthy hands on you.” Bello said, fighting the urge to pull her close. 

“Get out!” One minute she was cowering and the next her spine straightened, and there was fire in her eyes. “Mind your business and don’t you ever threaten my husband. You will not lay a single finger on him, do you understand? You don’t know anything okay, so stay away from us.”

She spun away from him and left the room without a backward glance. 

****

“You bastard!”

That was the only warning Quadri got before a blow landed solidly on his jaw, causing him to stagger. 

It took him a moment to clear the ringing in his head. Going into his study after a long day of business meetings, he had not expected to be jumped by his friend, Bello.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” He managed to get out.

“So help me God, Aisha will not spend another night under your roof.” Bello declared as he watched Quadri, pacing like a wounded bear. 

“I do not like the tone of your voice, and also I do not like that you’ve mentioned my wife in such manner. Except you want me to toss you out like a rabid dog, explain yourself.” Quadri walked to the small fridge tucked behind his desk and poured himself a drink. 

“I have noticed the bruises for a very long time. Gaskia, do you know how blessed you are to have Aisha? Yet you use her as a punching bag.”

“Is that what she told you? Did Aisha tell you that she no longer wants to be with me because I beat her?”

“Are you saying my eyes are deceiving me?”

Bello could not forget Aisha’s reaction. She had asked him to leave. Other women would have started crying and clinging to him. 

“You don’t know anything. Aisha is my wife. I love her and worship the ground she walks on. I would never maltreat her.” Quadri said fiercely.

Bello was stunned. He recalled that Aisha never said it was Quadri who hit her. Was she trying to protect him? He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. 

“How did she get all those bruises then?” Bello yelled. “Are blind or a liar, which one?

“Please Bello! Calm down. I can’t tell…Aisha she’s…God help me but I don’t know what to do. You can’t say anything about this. Believe me, I don’t know how I’ll protect my wife. If this gets out, they’ll come for her.” Quadri looked like a man at war with himself. 

“What are you talking about? Who are they? Damn it! Quadri I will not keep quiet until you tell me what is going on.”

The silence that followed was thick. Resigned Quadri motioned for Bello to take a seat, then he locked the doors.

“You want me to believe that Aisha is a spy and an assassin? Are you crazy? Do you think I’m stupid? Tor! Let’s say for a moment I believe you, did you marry her knowing the truth? 

“Keep your voice down and let me finish. I did not know any of this before we were married. I fell in love Aisha the moment I laid my eyes on her, and chased her until she finally agreed to marry me. For most part of our marriage she hid her job well. I only found out the night she came back with multiple stab wounds. She begged me not to take her to the hospital. After I fixed her, I demanded that she tell me the truth. She works for an underground militia group. They are called The Brotherhood. They are paid to carry out kidnapping, assainations and several illegal activities, including toppling governments. Aisha was an orphan picked up from the streets and trained since she was a child. My wife said she married me as a cover for her identity and threatened to kill me if I told anybody…”

“No! Shut up! How dare you? You liar. Aisha cannot hurt anybody. She’s too pure and sweet, and you…you disgust me. Just to cover up for your pathetic behavior you plot the most absurd story. Lies. This is not over Quadri, you’ll hear from me.” Bello stood up, unlocked the doors and stormed out in fury.

****

“He did not believe you.”

“How long have you been here?” Quadri face did not show any surprise. 

“I warned him not to lay a finger on you. I saw him punch you and I wanted to kill him, but you…you tried to reason with him.” Aisha’s cold laughter sent shivers up Quadri’s spine. 

“The Brotherhood will not be merciful if I am exposed. They would come after you, but I will never let that happen.” She hissed. 

“Come here!”

Aisha stood before him looking beautiful and dangerous. Eyes sparkling and fist clenched. Her red abaya was designed with black and gold threads, and he knew she had knives and guns strapped to her body. He pulled her into his lap and buried his face in her hair. 

“Easy my love. Is that why you agreed to stay instead of leaving like you wanted to that night? To protect me? Ah! I should be the one protecting you.” He said.

Aisha’s job took her to dangerous places she had a lot of enemies. Every time he feared she won’t return back to him. 

“You’ve done enough already. You’ve loved me for who I am, you’ve kept my secrets and taken care of me.” Aisha placed her head on his shoulder and sighed.

“How’s your wrist?”

“The doctors in Qatar said it would heal well, and they were correct. It’s as good as new. Tor! You need to stop buying me gifts. It’s not you fault that I got injured.”

“I know.” Quadri replied. 

“Bello has to be silenced.”

“I know.”

“He wants to have me. The fool. I’ll make him pay for hitting you.” She caressed his face and Quadri laughed. His wife must be rubbing off on him if he didn’t bat an eye after hearing her casually talk about killing his friend. 

“It’s my job to protect you as your husband. There’s also the fact that I’m glad you face is better now so that I can do this as much as I want.” He held her face with his hands and kissed her deeply, wanting more than anything to hurt anyone who tried to harm her. 

Aisha was smiling as they broke the kiss. Until he came into her life, she was alone, fighting for survival on the streets long before The Brotherhood found her. He changed everything and living without him was not an option. She would find a way to neutralize the threat they pose to their lives as soon as possible.

“I heard from a reliable source that I’m very lucky to have you.” Aisha teased. Quadri laughed and hugged her tightly, thinking that he was the one lucky to have her. 


Tomorrow! 😍

Read more: Thursday Talk Series

Rock Love

Rigozo

In the beginning
When our feelings were stirred
I didn’t know then that we had triggered
A mega colossal volcanic eruption

Our crusts both natural and chemical
Pooled like molten magma
Hearts of stone
Liquid fore cooled and crystallized

Erosion eventually came
And I didn’t think we could withstand it
You were solid and unwavering
I found strength in this

Exposed to the elements
Pressured by our perceived differences,
Temperatures ran high and low
Yet we held on to each other as molluscs

Metamorphosed and maybe traumatized
Our form revealed
Something alien and familiar
We survived as monolith

And so we persist
Not entirely igneous or sedimentary
I guess you can say
Ours is a rocky relationship

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